The federal government is contributing $5.9 million towards creating new flax varieties and developing an improved method for flaxseed testing.
“New and improved flax varieties will give Canadian farmers increased flax yield and more opportunities to succeed in international markets,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz in a release.
The investment will finance two initiatives:
$4 million from the Developing Innovative Agri-Products program (DIAP) will help the Flax Council of Canada produce new herbicide-tolerant Canadian flax to improve the crop’s yield performance.
Up to $1.9 million from the Canadian Agr icul tural Adaptation Program (CAAP) will be used by the Flax Council of Canada to develop sampling and testing methods to identify the presence of genetically modified (GM) flaxseed in Canadian flax exports. “Results will be used to assure global flax markets that Canada knows its crop and is in control of the quality of the flax delivered. In turn, this will serve to increase competitiveness in the flax seed industry,” the release said.
Flax Council president and CEO Barry Hall welcomed the assistance that will help address current issues as well as future needs.
Canada is the largest supplier of flax in the world, producing almost 50 per cent of the world supply and 80 per cent of world exports, with a farm gate value of $346 million in 2008.